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New Ebola Outbreak in Congo

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This undated colorized transmission of an electron micrograph file image made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows an Ebola virus virion. Health authorities are investigating suspected cases of Ebola in a remote northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

May 14, 2017: The World Health Organization says the Democratic Republic of the Congo is again facing an outbreak of the contagious and deadly Ebola virus.

Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga announced Saturday that three people had died of the virus in the northeast of the country.

Ilunga urged people not to panic and said officials had taken all necessary measures to respond to the outbreak.

The World Health Organization said it was working with Congolese authorities to deploy health workers in the remote area where the three deaths occurred, all on April 22. Eleven other cases are suspected in the area.

WHO’s regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, went to the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, on Friday to discuss disease response.

The remoteness of the affected area, 1,300 kilometres from Kinshasa, means word of the outbreak was slow to emerge. WHO said specialist teams were expected to arrive in the area, known as the Likati health zone, within the next day or two.

This was the first outbreak of the virus in DRC since 2014 when 49 people died of Ebola.

Larger outbreak

Experts say the 2014 DRC outbreak was not linked to a much larger outbreak that killed 11,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, beginning in 2013. They say active virus transmission for that outbreak was halted last year.

In December 2016, The Lancet, a medical journal, published results of a WHO-led trial showing that the world’s first Ebola vaccine provides substantial protection against the virus. Among more than 11,000 people who were vaccinated in the trial, no cases of Ebola virus disease occurred.

Reports say the vaccine is now awaiting formal licensing clearance.

Ebola, named after the Congolese river near where it was first identified in 1976, begins with a sudden fever, aching muscles, diarrhoea and vomiting. It is a hemorrhagic fever, marked by spontaneous bleeding from internal organs and, in most cases, death. It can be transmitted by close contact with infected animals or people, usually through blood or other bodily fluids.

People can contract the virus through direct contact with victims’ bodies at funerals. Caretakers, nurses and doctors treating Ebola patients also are at high risk. VOA

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Patients who Survive Ebola often Continue to Face Numerous Health Problems: Study

They have to face numerous health problems

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Laboratory technician Mohamed SK Sesay, who survived Ebola but saw many of his colleagues die and now has joint and muscle pains and loss of sight, holds the child of one of his work colleagues who died of the disease, in Kenema, Sierra Leone
Laboratory technician Mohamed SK Sesay, who survived Ebola but saw many of his colleagues die and now has joint and muscle pains and loss of sight, holds the child of one of his work colleagues who died of the disease, in Kenema, Sierra Leone. VOA
  • Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016
  • Many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months
  • They show some quite distinct scarring patterns

Sierra Leone, West Africa, August 25, 2017: Patients who survive infection with the Ebola virus often continue to face numerous health problems. New research finds 80 percent of Ebola survivors suffer disabilities one year after being discharged from the hospital.

Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016; tens of thousands more who were infected survived.

Of those survivors, many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool, the UK and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK are studying what’s called post-Ebola syndrome. One of the senior authors of the study, Dr. Janet Scott, says researchers are unsure why survivors experience such disabilities.

“I’m not sure we’ve quite gotten to the bottom of it yet,” Scott said. “The idea that you go through something as horrific as Ebola and just walk away from that unscathed was always a bit of a vain hope. So, it could be the inflammatory response. It could be damage to the muscles, and it could be the persistence of the virus in some cases. It could be all of those things.”

Scott says problems found in Ebola survivors’ eyes may provide clues to what is happening elsewhere in the body.

“They show some quite distinct scarring patterns,” she said. “There’s definitely scar tissue there. We can see it in the eyes. We can’t see it in the rest of the body, but I’m sure it’s in the rest of the body because the patients are coming in with this huge range of problems.”

The disabilities were reported in past cases of  Ebola outbreak, as well. However, because past outbreaks were smaller and there were few survivors, researchers were not able to do major, long-term studies on the after effects.

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This time, said Scott, “There are 5,000 survivors or thereabouts in Sierra Leone, and more in Guinea and Liberia. So, it’s an opportunity from a research point of view to find out the full spectrum of sequelae … the things that happen after an acute illness.”

Military Hospital 34 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, also took part in the study, helping to recruit 27 Ebola survivors and 54 close contacts who were not infected. About 80 percent of survivors reported disabilities compared to 11 percent of close contacts.

“The problems we’re seeing in Ebola survivors, this is not due just to the tough life in Sierra Leone. This is more than likely down to their experience in Ebola,” Scott said.

The research was led by Dr. Soushieta Jagadesh, who said: “a year following acute disease, survivors of West Africa Ebola Virus Disease continue to have a higher chance of disability in mobility, cognition, and vision.”

“Issues such as anxiety and depression persist in survivors and must not be neglected,” she added.

Scott hopes the findings can be used to provide better care in the event of another Ebola outbreak, no matter where it is. In the West Africa outbreak, the first goal was to contain the epidemic, followed by reducing the death rate.

“If I was treating an Ebola patient again, it has to be more than just surviving,” Scott said. “You have to try to make people survive well. Surviving with half your body paralyzed or with your vision impaired and being unable to care for your family or earn a living isn’t really enough. So, what I would like to do is to focus on that aspect to make people survive better and survive well.” (VOA)

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Owning a Dog may help Older Adults to be more Active: Study

The study showed that dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking

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Owning a dog may help older adults meet physical activity levels. Wikimedia
  • The study highlighted that pet ownership may help older people achieve higher levels of physical activity
  • The study showed that dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking
  • Dog owners had fewer sedentary events in compared to non-dog owners

London June 9, 2017: Owning a dog may help older adults meet physical activity levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, researchers suggest.

The study showed that dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking, taking an extra 2,760 steps per day when compared to people who didn’t own a dog.

“Over the course of a week this additional time spent walking may in itself be sufficient to meet WHO recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity,” said lead author Philippa Dall, doctoral student at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.

Further, dog owners had fewer sedentary events — continuous periods of sitting down — than non-dog owners.

“Our results indicate that dog ownership may play an important role in encouraging older adults to walk more,” added Nancy Gee from WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition — a Britain-based research organisation.

For the study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, the team used data on patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in 43 dog owners and 43 controls, aged 65 years and over.

The researchers monitored the time spent walking moderately, time spent standing, total time spent sitting, as well as the number of times people sat down and how long they sat down for.

The study highlighted that pet ownership may help older people achieve higher levels of physical activity or maintain their physical activity levels for a longer period of time, which could improve their prospects for a better quality of life, improved or maintained cognition, and perhaps, even overall longevity. (IANS)

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Cows up for Online Sale after Government’s Ban on Trading of Cattle

A rapid search on online marketplaces, such as OLX, shows that hundreds of cows are up for sale in the virtual world

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Cows, Pixabay
  • Government imposes ban of the sale of cattle
  • Sale of cows is surging in virtual market
  • The law is expected to leave many low-class group jobless, critics says

June 02, 2017: As the government’s restrictions on the sale of cattle advances, farmers and livestock traders have become more equipped digitization buttressing the long term of Modi’s Digital India. A rapid search on online marketplaces, such as OLX, shows that hundreds of cows are up for sale in the virtual world.

Last week, The environment ministry announced animal markets could only trade cattle for agricultural purposes, such as ploughing and dairy production. The law is introduced against animal cruelty, but critics say they are aimed at pacifying hard-line Hindu supporters of the Modi government. The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday suspended the order for four weeks.

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The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday suspended the order for four weeks.

Ravi Sharma, the resident of Varanasi was suspicious when asked about his online post, selling a desi brown cow for Rs 75,000. He then stated he has no interest in selling to a certain minority group.

In Ghazipur, close to Varanasi, Bheem Singh wants to get rid of three cows at the earliest, thus selling at 50 percent less than the market price. “It’s too dangerous keeping cows anymore. Anyone can come and beat us,” he said.

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The past two years witnessed a rise in attacks on Muslims and lower caste Hindus involved in the cattle trade, leading to several deaths.

On May 26, a group of “cow protectors” thrashed two meat traders on the suspicion that they were carrying beef. Police in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara arrested five people, including an alleged member of the RSS who torched a truck last week, which they thought was carrying cows for slaughter.

Several state governments have appealed to the PM to revoke the order, which they say was issued without discussing them. While some have decided to drag the matter to the court.

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Environment Minister, Harsh Vardhan,  said cattle bought and sold directly from farms would not be affected by the government’s order. “The aim of the rules is only to regulate the animal market and sale of cattle in them and ensure (the) welfare of cattle” in the markets,” he said.

However, many critics see the move as a blow to beef and leather exports that will leave thousands of people jobless and deprive millions of Christians, Muslims and poor Hindus of a cheap source of protein.

Cows have been sold on e-commerce websites earlier also but were only available occasionally under the pets section. However, ever since the BJP swept to power in Uttar Pradesh in March with priest-turned-politician Yogi Adityanath becoming the chief minister, there has been a swift surge and the rise of the gau rakshaks, or cow vigilantes.

Critics say a sense of fear has been instilled in farmers and cattle owners who feel safer trading within the restraints of the internet rather than an open market.

– by Staff writer at Newsgram

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